Dr. Kyle Ellis serves as the Director of the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. He came to The University of Mississippi in 2004 as an academic advisor. He received his B.S. in Health and Human Performance and M.S. in Education from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education in 2011 from The University of Mississippi. His dissertation focused on academic advising experiences of first-year students who are undecided in their major.
Dr. Ellis currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Additionally, he is active in the Consortium for Student Retention and Data Exchange (CSRDE). Through publications, presentations, and speaking engagements, Dr. Ellis is committed to growth and professional development, in order to ensure student success, satisfaction, and persistence.
Mary Ann Croker is the Senior Administrative Secretary for the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience.
Jennifer Phillips is Assistant Director for Retention and an academic advisor serving students majoring in Accounting in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. Ms. Phillips earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Business Administration (2003) and her M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel (2007) from Ole Miss. She also completed the Paralegal Studies certificate program in 2004.
She is currently writing her dissertation for completion of the Ph.D. in Higher Education where she is exploring the topic of student retention and expects to graduate in 2014. She is an active member in the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), Mississippi Advisors’ Meeting (MAM) , National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), Center for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE), and is the coordinator for the Freshman Attendance-Based Initiative (FABI) which is a retention program targeting the attendance habits of students in 100- and 200-level courses. She also teaches a section of the Freshman Year Experience course for freshmen each fall and coordinates summer orientation advising for the campus.
Dr. Travis Hitchcock is the Assistant Director for Advising and an academic advisor for freshmen in the School of Engineering. He also teaches EDHE 105: Freshman Year Experience and EDLD 201: Career Decision-making.
Born and raised in Oxford, Travis attended Ole Miss and earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development, a Master of Arts in Higher Education/Student Personnel, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education. Travis’ area of expertise and research interest lies within the field of career development and its impact on student retention. He is also a member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and the National Career Development Association (NCDA).
Rachel Coleman is an academic advisor serving freshmen majoring in the math and science fields (STEM) within the College of Liberal Arts. In addition to advising, she serves an instructor for EDHE 105 – Freshman-Year Experience. Rachel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Mississippi University for Women, a Master of Education in Counseling from the University of Mississippi, and is a National Certified Counselor (NCC).
Crystal A. Dunn advises freshman students in the School of Applied Sciences. She is from the small town of Sardis, Mississippi. She is an alumnus of the University of Mississippi, having earned her BA in Psychology in 2008 and MA in Higher Education Student Personnel in 2010. She is currently enrolled in the doctoral program for Higher Education/ Student Personnel at the University of Mississippi where her research interests include first-generation college students and retention in higher education.
As an academic advisor in the CSSYE, Crystal is the coordinator of StudentsFIRST, a program designed to address the needs of first-year, first-generation college students on our campus. She also serves as the E-advisor for the department to assist students across campus with finding answers to general academic and advising questions. In the spring of 2014, Crystal was awarded the Academic Advising Network’s Excellence in Advising Award.
Chris Kohl is an academic advisor for business students with last names beginning with A through L. Chris comes to Ole Miss from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He earned a BA in Modern Languages in 2007 and an MA in Higher Education Administration in 2011 from the University of Alabama.
EJ Presley is an academic advisor serving business students with the last names M-Z. EJ is originally from Crenshaw, MS but currently resides in Oxford, MS. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from The University of Mississippi in 2010. He also earned his M.Ed in Clinical Mental Health Counseling form The University of Mississippi in 2012.
At the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, EJ is elated to help students discover which degree best fit their career choice. EJ is a National Certified Counselor (NCC).
Mariana Rangel is an academic advisor serving students majoring in the humanities and social science fields within the College of Liberal Arts. She earned a B.S. in Psychology from Lipscomb University in 2010 and a M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Mississippi in 2012. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Mississippi.
In addition to her advising duties, Mariana has a 12-month teaching appointment at the center, and serves as an instructor for EDHE 105 (Freshman Year Experience), EDHE 305 (Transfer Student Experience), and EDHE 101 (Academic Skills for College). She also serves as the center’s webmaster and works with the First-Year Experience programs within the office. Mariana is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Mississippi.
Rebecca Streetman is an academic advisor serving business students with the last names A-L. Rebecca is from Marietta, GA, a suburb outside of Atlanta. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from The University of Mississippi in 2011. After graduation, Rebecca worked in the Marketing, Public Relations, and Internal Communications department for a health care system in Atlanta.
In 2012, Rebecca decided to come back to The University of Mississippi to pursue a Master’s degree in Higher Education/ Student Personnel. While working on her Master’s, Rebecca served as a graduate assistant in The University of Mississippi’s Career Center. After working as a graduate assistant for two years, she graduated with her Master’s in May of 2015. She has a passion for career development, and loves helping students with their career goals.
Audra Trnovec is an academic advisor serving undeclared freshmen and sophomores. In addition to advising, she serves an instructor for EDHE 105 – Freshman-Year Experience. Audra earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sport Management and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Iowa State University. Audra spent the next 20 years administering university experiential education, recreation and student leadership programs and teaching courses in recreation and sport management, environmental sciences and freshman seminar. In 2012, she transitioned to career services where she advised students and tracked post-graduate statistics. She is from northern Illinois and is excited to finally join the University of Mississippi family after enjoying it vicariously through her husband who is an Ole Miss alum and administrator.
R. Dewey Knight serves the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience as the Associate Director. Knight’s professional career in financial services and higher education spans some forty-three years. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Advertising and a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education and Student Personnel from the University of Mississippi. He is now completing the final requirement for his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Higher Education at Ole Miss. His graduate studies and research have focused on the psychosocial development of college students. He is a frequent presenter at higher education professional conferences and meetings.
Knight’s principal duties at the Center involve the leadership of the first-year experience initiatives and retention. He coordinates EDHE 105, the Freshman Year Experience course, which enrolls over 2000 freshmen each year.
Rachael Durham is the Coordinator of First-Year Experience. She also serves as an instructor for EDHE 105 (First-Year Experience). She is originally from Memphis, TN, but now calls Oxford home. Rachael completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations from the University Of Mississippi in 2008 and her Masters of Higher Education and Student Personnel from the University of Mississippi in 2012.
Michael Howland is the Coordinator for Veteran and Military Services and an Adjunct Professor of Legal Studies. He retired in 2013 from a 25-year career in the United States Joint/Army Special Operations Command and served multiple tours of combat during his service. His last assignment prior to retirement was serving as the Senior Military Instructor for the University of Mississippi ROTC program from 2010-2013. Michael received his B.S. in Criminal Justice from Troy University and earned his Master’s in Criminal Justice (Homeland Security) from the University of Mississippi.
At the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, Michael is responsible for enhancing growth at the University of Mississippi by seeking veterans, service members and dependents to provide them with assistance, advocacy and counseling while obtaining a degree at Ole Miss. He also serves as an instructor for EDHE 105 (First Year Experience) that focuses on Veteran-specific issues.
Ann Margaret Compton is the Veteran Affairs Certifying Official for students using VA Educational Benefits. Ms. Compton was born in Indianapolis, IN and raised in Pontotoc. MS where she currently resides. Ann Margaret completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics and Science from the University of Mississippi graduating Cum Laude in 2010.
Academic Support Programs
Dr. Rebekah Reysen is the Assistant Director for Academic Support Programs for the CSSFYE. She coordinates programs for the academically at-risk students at UM: EDHE 101 – Academic Skills for College
. EDHE 202 – Fundamentals of Active Learning, the Contractual Readmission Program, and the Peer Leadership Program. Rebekah also teaches EDHE 105 – Freshman-Year Experience for FASTrack, EDHE 101, and conducts academic consultations and counseling sessions for EDHE 202. She also supervises counselor interns and teaches graduate courses for the Counselor Education department.
Originally from Napa, CA, Rebekah went to Purdue University and received degrees in psychology and theater. She received both her master’s and Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Mississippi. Rebekah is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), and Distance Certified Counselor (DCC). She has been published in a variety of counseling journals and on topics related to student motivation, career development, attachment, group therapy, and workaholism tendencies. Rebekah thoroughly enjoys her work with counselors-in-training and is passionate about helping students navigate their way through college.
Dylan Wren is the Program Coordinator for Academic Support Services at the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. He grew up on the coast in Long Beach, Mississippi, and moved to Starkville to continue his education. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Math from Mississippi State University, he studied at the University of Mississippi, earning his Master of Education degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Community Mental Health Counseling. He is currently working towards licensure in the state of Mississippi as well as serving students in counseling and academic capacities through EDHE 101, EDHE 202, the Contractual Readmission Program, and academic consultations.
Melissa Laird Thompson, a second-year Graduate Assistant in CSSFYE, graduated from Ole Miss in 2014 with a B.A. in English, and she will graduate this May with an M.A. in higher education. She is passionate about helping students have the best experience possible at Ole Miss, and she teaches a section of EDHE 305, the Transfer Student Experience, each semester. Melissa is from Ellisville, Mississippi.
Andy King received his Bachelors of Marketing from the University of Mississippi in 2013. Andy was born in St. Louis, MO and grew up in Belleville, IL. For two years, he served as a Regional Admissions Counselor in the Office of Admissions. Andy was privileged to recruit students from Mississippi, Texas, and Georgia to attend Ole Miss. Currently, Andy is currently enrolled in the Masters of Business Program and teaches EDHE 105 (Freshman Year Experience). He wishes to use his education to pursue sports management/marketing
Alana Dotson serves as a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. She graduated from the University in 2006 with a B.A. in Elementary Education. She has spent 8 years teaching kindergarten through second grade in various school districts in Mississippi. She began pursuing a master’s degree in School Counseling in 2013 and is completing an internship this year at Oxford Elementary School. In addition to her internship and graduate assistant duties, she is an instructor for EDHE 105 (Freshman Year Experience).